Custody battles occur daily across the United States. Most of those include children and costly legal fees.
One of the more recent custody battles in Ellis County, however, involved a Great Pyrenees. The stray dog had roamed the streets of Waxahachie for many months, always eluding capture. Those efforts finally paid off at 11:42 p.m. June 26, 2018, when he was rescued on the property of the Waxahachie Daily Light.
Hobo, as he quickly became known on social media, had been spotted behind the newspaper office, located at 200 W. Marvin, two nights in a row, which included the night before his capture.
The tips on his whereabouts led a team comprised of three rescue groups — Streets to Sheets from Waxahachie, Twisted Tails from Ennis and Mutts and Mayhem Emergency Search and Rescue from McKinney. The group set up several night-vision cameras and a safe trap of sorts just after nightfall on the day of his capture.
Upon capture, Hobo was immediately given medical treatment in the field by MMESR staff veterinarian Dr, Kathy Rayner. He was sedated and stabilized for transport to Rayner’s veterinary facility in Little Elm.
Several engaged and endeared citizens around Waxahachie had watched his habits and places he frequented for many months as they left food and water for him. They grew to love him. One of the residents named him Hobo because he was often walking by the railroad tracks.
Hobo was believed to be around a year old and, instead of weighing the normal weight of 80 pounds for a dog that age, weighed 43 pounds when captured. He had a rope embedded deeply in his neck, which had caused an infection and severe tissue damage down to the neck muscles. Removal of the rope was the first action taken by Rayner.
It is believed that he was tied up as a puppy and broke the rope to escape. By the fear shown, it was assumed he had been either abused or rarely nurtured.
Not long after the capture, Streets to Sheets began issuing pleas on Facebook for a long term placement, which MMESAR was able to make happen just two days later. Streets to Sheets then decided they wanted him long term instead. When MMSAR denied the request, Streets to Sheets filed a lawsuit for legal custody.
Ownership laws are vague in Texas regarding a stray animal, which opened the door for a long and expensive legal battle for MMSAR even though they have intake capability in Texas which most rescues do not have.
Those legal proceedings continued for over a year, with the issue ultimately resolved with agreement by both parties to drop the lawsuit. The decision was made after MMESR agreed to drop its counterclaim to recover legal fees because of the additional expense involved. Hobo — who has since been renamed Hachi — lived with Selena Schmidt, President of MMESR, and her husband, Glen, throughout the legal process.
Hachi not only survived but thrived as he overcame his fears and was able to trust again. His progress was updated regularly with videos on Facebook.
It was also announced at a press conference earlier this week that Hachi had found his forever home with the Schmidt family.